Let's get ready to softball. Michigan's part in the Women's College World Series kicks off tonight at 7, as they take on six-seed Alabama. Michigan swept Alabama 8-2 and 4-1 earlier this year, but that was before the Tide turned to freshman Alexis Osorio to do most of their pitching. The game is on ESPN2.
Meanwhile in Louisville. Baseball takes on Bradley tomorrow in the UL regional. Michael Baumann has an excellent and concise preview at D1Baseball. On Michigan's first-round opponent:
Bradley has become the poster child for the RPI robbing traditional power conferences of spots in the tournament, as the Braves’ No. 19 RPI — which peaked at 10 — never quite felt right. Going 10-11 in the MVC — which is a good conference, but not that good — is a bad look, and along with an 11-12 record against the RPI top 100, always gave off the impression that the Braves were a paper tiger.
Bradley will need a win out of No. 1 starter Elliot Ashbeck (11-4, 3.11) in the opener against Michigan, and from there, they can try to cobble together something that gets them from the start of the game to closer Matt Dennis (3-0, 1.59, 12 saves) until it’s time to start Ashbeck again.
That sounds as enticing as possible for a 2-vs-3 matchup in which you are the lower seed.
Should Michigan get past the Braves, Louisville (presumably) presents a formidable challenge in the next round. Michigan figures to draw a pitching matchup featuring a projected first-round pick against their #2 starter, who is… not going to be a first round pick.
MLive also has a Bradley preview.
Today in things we are glad no longer warrant a post. Remember the books and the birds?
Those were deployed in annual posts poring over the worrisome state of Michigan's APR after the Carr-Rodriguez transition year saw a huge crater that threatened to drag Michigan under the red line for penalties. Those posts have officially been retired.
Michigan football recorded a perfect single-year APR score (1,000) in 2013-14 for the first time since the NCAA began monitoring the metric in 2004-05. The program's four-year rolling APR average now sits at 990, third in the Big Ten. The NCAA released the updated figures Wednesday.
Well done, Hoke and academic staff.
Meanwhile I'm growing more and more skeptical of the validity of the APR. As a number of commenters pointed out in the post on freshman ineligibility, any metric that gives Crean-era Indiana basketball a perfect score is not particularly rigorous. But it's better to be at the top of a not particularly rigorous metric than towards the bottom.
Summer camp, 1992. I wish I could bottle old Michigan replay music and have it follow me around, en-jivening my day to day.
It's about that time. Michigan basketball refrains from offering recruits until June 1st of their junior year. June first is just a few days away… and nobody seems to know who is on the list. Or if there is even a list.
Michigan has just two certain spots in the class of 2017—those from the departures of Derrick Walton and Zak Irvin. They are aiming for a point guard in 2016. Assuming they get one that would fill their scholarship slots and push center commit Austin Davis to 2017 minus any attrition. That means they'd have one slot at most with almost no idea where they should use it.
For the first time in a while it seems like June 1st will pass without a solid definition of Michigan's top targets in a recruiting class. It is possible some offers will go out, and more possible still that Michigan finds some gentlemen at their annual summer camp, which is scheduled for June 6th. Here is a 2017 top 100 guy planning to attend from a long way way:
Having already landed its biggest 2016 recruit, Tyus Battle, Michigan is now setting up its wish list for 2017.
One name currently included is Greg Floyd Jr., a 6-foot-8 forward from Las Vegas.
On Wednesday, the Las Vegas Knicks, Floyd's AAU team, announced via Twitter that Floyd will visit Ann Arbor for Michigan's College Practice Camp on June 6.
Michigan may also offer NY combo guard Kevin Heurter, who is currently scheduled to be a member of the class of 2016 but has a 2017 offer from Syracuse and is very young for his class.
It's a kind of legacy. The SEC has added neutral observers to the press box to determine whether or not a player cannot continue because he has been hit very hard in the head. Get The Picture dubs this the…
The Brady Hoke Rule
Woof. On the other hand, APR?
I wonder how Dantonio will get mad about this. This is clearly not trolling. It is the opposite of trolling.
"We know we're not the biggest guy on the block (right now)," Harbaugh said, per a live video stream recorded by The Wolverine. "Michigan State's the biggest guy on the block."
Harbaugh's comment was then met with a clap from someone in the back of the room. He acknowledged that clap, and followed it up by heaping praise on what Mark Dantonio and the Spartans have accomplished.
It is directed at Michigan State and Mark Dantonio, the man who's super power is generating offense from anything and everything. It is master trolling.
I heard you like team in your team in your team. There is a Michigan hype video narrated by the wonderfully scratchy Xzibit. Unfortunately it is not embeddable, which rather defeats the purpose of putting it on youtube. But at least it's on youtube instead of Michigan's terrible proprietary player?
(Woof on the writing, though. Lou Avery's generic organizational slogans of the week. You probably paid someone to do that. I will do this for free, Michigan. It is already my job.)
More like Steve Albrecht. Someone asked Steve Nash about Spike and comparisons made between the two during a reddit AMA:
"He's a good young player — flattered."
That's dang right.
Etc.: Journalism! Science! Maybe he just likes peeing in condoms. Hooray money, I guess. SEC complaining is the sweetest complaining. Matt Hinton is relevant to your interests: how to build an offensive line. Jabrill Peppers probably not staying five years. Quinn on Battle. Quinn on… Battle.
Big Visit Weekend Ahead
Michigan is set to host a solid group of targets this weekend. Before getting to the full list, let's check in with three-star NJ OT Will Fries, who wrapped up a two-day visit yesterday and gave his reaction to 247's Clint Brewster ($):
"It was amazing I had great time," Fries told Wolverine247.
Is Michigan in Fries' top group now following the visit?
"Yes, they are."
The list of weekend visitors comes courtesy of reports from The Wolverine's Tim Sullivan($) and 247's Steve Lorenz($), unless otherwise noted. While there isn't a full-blown "buckle up" situation heading into the weekend, it's worth keeping an eye on a couple of these prospects:
- Five-star WI OT Ben Bredeson will be on campus all weekend, and this is a hugely important visit for Michigan, as this is likely his last trip to Ann Arbor before he makes a decision in early June. The Wolverines are in a top four along with Wisconsin, Notre Dame, and Ohio State; the Badgers appear to be M's chief competition.
- Four-star Farmington Hills Harrison DE Khalid Kareem told TomVH he'll take a weekend visit. Kareem has been a steady presence on campus since Jim Harbaugh arrived, but Michigan has plenty of competition from the likes of Alabama, Michigan State, and Notre Dame.
- Four-star IN WR Austin Mack will be in Ann Arbor on Saturday, a visit sandwiched between trips to Notre Dame and Ohio State this weekend, per 247's Bill Kurelic ($). Mack is expected to end up with the Buckeyes when he announces his decision on June 7th.
- Three-star ATH Kiante Enis and four-star all-purpose back Chris Evans will both make the trip from Indiana. Enis, a running back who could play a number of positions, already holds an offer. Evans doesn't, but he's expected to add one this weekend, and if he does there are rumblings of a potential commitment—his Crystal Ball immediately added several Michigan predictions after the visit was announced.
- Three-star Paramus (NJ) Catholic WR Donald Stewart already has Michigan at the top of his list heading into his first campus visit. Lorenz reports that while a commitment isn't expected to occur this weekend, one could come shortly thereafter.
- Three-star MN ATH JD Spielman is still getting his football recruitment off the ground after committing to Ohio State to play lacrosse. He's expected to choose football at the next level, and Michigan was one of his first offers for the gridiron.
- 2017 four-star QB Dylan McCaffrey and 2017 in-state DE Corey Malone-Hatcher will be in Ann Arbor, as well. Malone-Hatcher is visiting this weekend since he has a conflict preventing him from attending next Tuesday's in-state Junior Day, when the other seven in-state rising juniors offered by Michigan will all be on campus.
- 2016 commits Brandon Peters and Matt Falcon will assuredly have their recruiting hats on. Peters, especially, could help convince his fellow Hoosier State prospects to join up.
There's a notable omission: Four-star IN DE Auston Robertson previously planned to visit with Austin Mack, but his mother told 247's Steve Wiltfong that he'll be at Notre Dame on Saturday ($). Robertson is considered a Michigan State lean, and with his decision coming up on June 7th, Michigan's chances are slim at best without getting a final chance to impress him.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundup.]
"I just forgot we're allowed to pitch it because that happens so rarely, you know?"
This week we have a guest responder, Craig Ross, author of The Obscene Diaries of a Michigan Fan, and The Search for the Unified Theory (Football Version), neither of which he would actually encourage you to buy—as if that's going to stop us.
Craig also has an article about the weird as hell 1925 season in this year's HTTV, now available for pre-order in the MGoStore, and which we do encourage you to buy. Because his fan memory goes back to pre-Bump I thought he'd have a unique response from history that none of us young 'uns would have remembered, then he answered with a play we'd just as soon forget.
Special thanks to Wolverine Historian for making most of these replies possible. Prepare thineself for some youtubes!
Describe the weirdest play/sequence you can remember as a Michigan fan?
BiSB: Personally, I find weirdness in the mundane. It's the draw play on 2nd and long, or the corner who allows a receiver a free inside release on 3rd and 2. Like snowflakes, even the most typical, nondescript plays demonstrates the chaos of our very existence. Each is unique, and each is OH MY GOD PITCH THE BALL TO BREASTON YOU ARE TYLER ECKER AND HE IS BLACK JESUS WHY IN THE NAME OF ALL THINGS HOLY DO YOU STILL HAVE THE FOOTBALL HE'S RIIIIIIGHT THEEEEEEEEERE.
Honorable mention for the Brandon Minor touchdown catch against Michigan State in 2008, when 100,000 people we all like,"uh, I'm pretty sure that's not how a pylon works, champ..."
[Hit the jump for two blocked punts in a row and people making top fives]
Previously: 1984 Miami
The Highlights: WolverineHistorian
The Setup: We left off with Michigan's opening game from the 1984 season, so there's clearly some catching up to do. After knocking off #1 Miami, the Wolverines fell back to earth the next week with a 20-11 defeat at the hands of #16 Washington, and a few weeks later they'd suffer their worst loss when Jim Harbaugh broke his arm diving for a fumble against Michigan State. Michigan went on to lose that game, and with Harbaugh out for the season the Wolverines stumbled to a 6-6 record, their worst under Bo Schembechler.
In Natural Enemies, John Kryk laid out the stakes for the 1985 season opener against Notre Dame:
Never was a Notre Dame-Michigan game more pivotal for both teams than the one played at Michigan Stadium on September 14, 1985.
Michigan was coming off its worst season in 17 years, 6-6, and its fourth straight with fewer than 10 wins. Some critics were suggesting the game had passed coach Bo Schembechler by.
Notre Dame was coming off another mediocre campaign, 7-5, and coach Gerry Faust was entering the final year of a five-year contract. It was believed Faust had to take the Fighting Irish to a major bowl game to have any chance of staying.
Thus, for both teams, for both coaches, this game was the crossroads. The winner would spring toward the path of rejuvenation; the loser would turn back and battle the same old demons for yet another season.
The mood was so tense in the week leading up to the game that after Harbaugh threw a couple picks in a scrimmage against the first-team defense, Schembechler threatened to bench him for Chris Zurbrugg, who'd filled in for Harbaugh the previous season with middling results.
Despite both teams' mediocre results the year before, this matchup wasn't short on talent. Michigan had Harbaugh, Jamie Morris, and a pair of All-Americans in defensive lineman Mike Hammerstein and cornerback Brad Cochran. Notre Dame featured longtime NFL QB Steve Beuerlein (though coming off major shoulder surgery), a Heisman Trophy candidate at running back in Allen Pinkett, and future Heisman winner Tim Brown at receiver.
[Hit THE JUMP.]
THING THINGS: Hoo boy, this thing was full of Michigan loss déjà vu. Iowa leapt out to a 17 point lead without doing much of anything on offense. Nebraska came back without doing much of anything on offense, with the capper an 80-yard punt return against Iowa's dinosaur punt formation—one that followed a 43-yarder earlier in the game.
Iowa's tailbacks averaged exactly 3.4 yards a carry each with a long of 15 yards; Rudock completed half his passes for a bleah 6.1 YPA.
CHRONOLOGY THINGS: This was the week after Wisconsin.
[After the JUMP: duuuuude wat]
A Very Short Week
Many of us are returning to work after a long weekend, but one Michigan target will have an even shorter week than most. Three-star NJ OL Will Fries is taking a two-day unofficial visit to Michigan today and tomorrow, per Scout's Brian Dohn ($). Dohn considers this a huge visit for Fries; if all goes well, he could see Fries' recruitment wrapping up soon after the trip. The main competition for Michigan appears to be Penn State and Rutgers, with Northwestern and Duke also factors—Fries has maintained, and his top schools show, that academics are very important in his recruitment. That should help Michigan's chances as Fries gets his first look at campus this week.
Michigan may also get one last shot at impressing four-star Indiana prospects DE Auston Robertson and WR Austin Mack this weekend. Robertson has Michigan in his top three along with Michigan State (the heavy favorite) and Notre Dame, and he told TMI's Josh Newkirk about his tentative visit plans ($):
"Going to Michigan changed the whole game," he said. "It was better than what I expected. They just popped in my top-three right then and there. I got a pretty good relationship with some of the coaches down there. I might go down there on May 30th with Austin Mack. But I'm not sure yet. But I am trying to get to all three of the colleges before I commit. I'm also trying to bring my mom there so she can potentially see where I am going to play at the next level.
If Robertson makes the trip—and, critically, if his mother accompanies him—then Michigan has an outside shot at surpassing their in-state rivals. There's less optimism with regards to Mack, who's long been considered an Ohio State lock; he's even rumored to be a silent Buckeye commit. Both prospects will announce their decision on June 7th, so it's now or never for the Wolverines to make a move.
One confirmed visitor for this weekend is top-50 2017 CO QB Dylan McCaffrey, who'll fly in on Friday and stay until Sunday, per 247's Steve Lorenz ($). McCaffrey is a Stanford legacy—both his father, former Denver Broncos receiver Ed McCaffrey, and his brother Christian chose the Cardinal—but thus far they haven't joined Michigan, Penn State, Colorado, UCLA, and Duke in offering him.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundup.]